The Papua New Guinea Kumuls believe they can beat anyone on their day as they prepare for the Rugby League World Cup.
Their first pool game is against Tonga and Papua New Guinean utility Lachlan Lam said they will go into the match as underdogs.
The Kumuls are in a group with Tonga, Wales and the Cook Islands at this year’s tournament, which is hosted in England.
Lam said being the underdog gives the Kumuls the belief to come out on top. He said this was evident when they beat Fiji 24-14 in June.
“PNG have always been a team that have been looked past pretty quickly,” half-back Lam told Love Rugby League podcast.
“Even this year in the Pacific Test against Fiji we were looked over pretty quickly. For the players who put on that jersey it means a lot more to them than a lot of people understand.
“We’re definitely capable of turning over teams that people wouldn’t expect us to. Last time we made the quarter-finals for the second time ever and we won all three of our pool games. This year we will be looking to go a little bit better than that.”
Papua New Guinea head into the World Cup on the back of an impressive 24-14 win over Fiji in June. The Kumuls will also face Australia’s Prime Minister’s XIII before they travel to England this autumn.
Lam is the son of most coveted PNG player Adrian Lam who now coaches Leigh Centurions, the same club the younger Lam also plays for.
Lam recalled his first RLWC game in 2017 when they were pitted against USA in the cross group round. Having never played USA, Lam said players were not sure of how the match would turn out.
He said the players went into the game as the underdogs and came up winners by hammering USA 64-0.
The Kumuls won three pool games in 2017, beat USA in the cross group round and made it to the quarterfinals where they eventually lost 36-6 to England.
Lam said it is an honour every time he gets to put the Kumuls jersey on and is looking forward to doing it again this autumn.
He said in 2017, he was not sure if he was even going to make the cut for the team. He said he went to PNG on the backing of his father and it is a decision he has never regretted.
Papua New Guinea begin their World Cup campaign with an all-Pacific clash against Tonga at St Helens on October 18.